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Home Energy Monitoring with Smappee Infinity

Home Energy Monitoring with Smappee Infinity

Home Energy Monitoring with Smappee Infinity

By installing energy monitoring in your home you can identify high energy appliances & opportunities to reduce costs

Many people use a set and forget approach to their rooftop solar system but this is a risky and potentially expensive approach. Imagine receiving your power bill only to discover that your system hasn’t been working properly for the past 2 months and you’ve been unknowingly running your house on expensive electricity from the grid. This is where having a good energy or solar monitoring system really comes into its own. The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ was never truer than when managing your rooftop solar and home energy use.

Most solar installers offer a basic feed from the solar inverter, often at extra cost, which gives you information about your solar production.  It won’t, however, give you any information about your energy consumption patterns and compare this with your solar production. This is not really surprising considering the core business of inverter manufacturers is not energy monitoring software.

If you really want to maximise your savings by knowing what’s going on with your rooftop solar and your energy usage then you need to consider a quality, third party home energy monitoring solution.

Optimising your Rooftop Solar

With the loss of generous feed-in tariffs a few years back, you need to be using as much of your solar as you can in your home (self-consumption), minimising the use of expensive grid electricity. A complete smart energy management solution will allow you to optimise your solar by simultaneously monitoring solar generation and controlling appliances to maximise self-consumption and minimise cost.

Home Energy Monitoring Versus Smart Home Energy Management

There are many solar or energy monitoring solutions available on the market however not all systems are created equal. Inverter based systems will tell you how many kilowatts your solar system is generating, how much grid electricity you are using and how many kilowatts of solar you are exporting to the grid.

To get the full picture, and to really take control of your energy use, you’ll want something more powerful. If you can see how the power consumption of individual appliances in your home and your solar generation work together, then you’re getting a complete picture.  Armed with this information you can really start to take control. This is where Smappee Infinity comes in.

The Power of Individual Appliance Monitoring

One of the things that sets Smappee Infinity apart from its competitors is how it can ‘reach’ into your home, monitoring individual appliances, and balancing your consumption with your solar generation, so that any excess solar power goes direct to your smart appliances.  With world-leading European technology, the Smappee smart energy management system can monitor and manage the energy use of individual appliances. It can even identify the ‘footprint’ of certain home appliances using its unique NILM technology.

The Smappee mobile app and Smappee dashboard are easy to use and give you a clear view of all your energy use whether you’re at home, working or on holiday. You can immediately see what appliances are guzzling energy and what your level of ‘always on’ or standby power is. You can even set up rules to turn things on or off depending on the amount of solar being generated, such as automatically turning on the pool pump when the solar generation is high or turning the air-conditioning down automatically when solar generation drops.

Smappee is quick and easy to install by a qualified electrician. It’s clever, modular nature means it will grow with your needs – want to add batteries or an electric vehicle? Smappee will manage the energy flows across these and ensure that it is optimised against your solar generation. As more and more smart appliances coming on to the market, Smappee future-proofs your home and adds value.

The Smappee Infinity complete smart home energy management system ultimately gives you control and peace of mind.

For more information on how Smappee can help you optimise your solar and energy use, check out the Smappee Infinity overview here or feel free get in touch.

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Save Through Smart EV Charging with Smappee Infinity

Save Through Smart EV Charging with Smappee Infinity

Australia, let’s get smarter about using solar and off-peak power to minimise the costs of EV charging

Anyone who owns or is interested in electric vehicles (EVs) probably knows that the running costs can be significantly lower than vehicles running on petrol, diesel or LPG. Servicing requirements for electric motors can also be minimal compared to internal combustion engines, which translates to further cost savings for owners. That being said, there are still big opportunities – and exciting ones at that – for EV owners to further save with smart charging, both in charging costs as well as in an environmental sense.

First, let’s consider Australia’s changing power environment

Liquid fuels have served a purpose as an easily transportable source of energy for many years. They allowed for significant growth during the industrial revolution and made many industries that we rely on today possible. The impact to the environment, though, has been less than desirable, and the practice of using fossil fuels as a primary source of energy in industries is simply not sustainable.

With improvements in battery technology we’re now seeing a shift where renewable energy can be stored and used on demand, along with the ability to use other less damaging forms of fossil fuel such as coal to indirectly power automobiles. With the progress of renewable energy production including wind, solar and tidal power being implemented across the world, our reliance on coal is also reducing and this will continue over time.

Where EVs come into the picture

Australian households and businesses are increasingly starting to look to electric vehicles as an effective way of reducing reliance on damaging fossil fuels. It’s been calculated that the carbon emissions of an EV in Australia could be around 18% lower than those of a fossil fuelled car when using average grid electricity. When we add in the factors of renewable energy and battery technologies, these can lead to even lower emissions. Just ask New Zealand, whose EV emissions could be 62% lower than those of fossil fuelled cars because so many of the country’s energy sources are renewable.

Smart use of renewable energy can also have serious benefits for the hip pocket

Where EV owners are producing the renewable energy themselves, for example using solar panels, each owner stands to significantly save on their charging costs. In addition – owners can use their smart charging system to only charge at off-peak (and therefore low-cost) times from the grid, further slashing their charging costs. Smart EV charging simply makes sense!

Smappee Infinity provides a revolutionary solution when it comes to smart EV charging

By installing a Smappee Infinity system, users can optimise the use of self-produced solar power and also prioritise using lower-cost off-peak power, to maximise the already-significant savings that can come with owning and operating an EV. Here’s how.

Smappee offers flexibility for smart EV charging. By integrating directly with Smappee’s new EV Base charger or a range of supported third-party chargers, the Infinity system together with the Genius gateway can dynamically change the charging output to maintain a manageable rate of charge.

Current third-party EV chargers that integrate directly with the Smappee Infinity system are as follows:

  1. Alfen
  2. EVBox
  3. GreenFlux
  4. KEBA
  5. Powerdale

Maximised self consumption of solar power

Planning to use surplus solar power to charge your vehicle? Using its smart metering technology, the Infinity system can monitor the level of solar power exported to the grid and vary the EV charger output to only use excess energy.

Prioritised use of off-peak (and low cost) electricity when solar power is unavailable

Wake up to an ideally charged vehicle and a lower bill! Where the site operates on time-of-use electricity tariffs, the Infinity system can review the current and future electricity rates and prioritise the use of off-peak power to complete charging to a user defined level, e.g. 100km by 7:30am.

Demand management to protect site or circuit overload

The Smappee smart EV charging feature also includes demand management capabilities. This means that it will limit the amount of power the EV charger can draw to ensure the site does not exceed its overload limit. This is ideal in the case of running an EV charger at the same time as other electrical appliances and lighting, or where multiple EV chargers are installed with a combined maximum load which is greater than what the supply (main circuit breaker) can support.

Direct switching of EV chargers and other appliances

In addition to Smappee’s smart EV charging feature allowing for dynamic load control, users can also directly switch power to their charging station or other household appliances. This is possible with the Output Module used to control switching of whole circuits, or the Switch (16A) which plugs in to the power point and provides both control and monitoring capabilities.

Using this method will still allow users to automate the use of excess solar for charging and other purposes, however, it would not have the capability to vary the load on an EV charger.

So why choose Smappee Infinity for smart EV charging?

Understanding your energy

Not only can you keep track of exactly how much power your EV is using and the associated costs, but you’ll also be able to gain many other insights into energy usage. The Smappee Infinity system can monitor all of your electrical loads providing a detailed consumption, production, and cost analysis, allowing you to fully understand how your home or business is interacting with energy.

Controlling your EV charger & other circuits or appliances to maximise savings & revenue

You can open up a world of management and integration possibilities. The Infinity system is capable of controlling individual appliances with the Switch and whole circuits with the Output Module. Control can be managed manually or automatically via the smartphone app, or with third-party integrations including IFTTT, Home Assistant, and custom MQTT (IoT) based applications.

For example, you could choose to only run your water heater with export solar during the day and off-peak power overnight through an in-app automation. Or using IFTTT and a Sensibo smart A/C controller, you could reduce the temperature in your home when solar export is above a certain level. Tech savvy individuals could also create their own control conditions using the Home Assistant application, or develop their own application installed on a home PC or Raspberry Pi.

Saving on energy costs and maximising revenue from export to the grid

By utilising the above smart control capabilities you could significantly maximise your cost savings associated with installing a solar system or EV charger. And by utilising self-produced solar power production, you can minimise the amount of electricity being exported to the grid at the low feed-in tariffs currently offered by most traditional electricity retailers.

In addition to cost savings, there’s also the possibility to increase revenue on electricity exported to the grid. By signing up to an electricity retailer offering wholesale rates you could choose to reduce consumption when the price of electricity is high, increasing export to the grid and being paid at the equivalent feed-in tariff. When you consider the price of electricity can reach levels as high as $15 per kWh for short periods during the year, there’s a significant opportunity to take advantage of this and generate revenue with your solar system. Who would say no to more free money?

If you’re a home battery owner you can further maximise revenue generated by signing up to a virtual power plant (VPP) program, where you can be paid for the use of your battery during peak demand periods. These rewards are typically in addition to the feed-in tariff offered by the electricity retailers. This article from SolarQuotes provides details on some VPP programs currently available in Australia.

Learn more

Considering EV charger options and identifying ways to maximise savings using some of the smart technologies now available can get a little complicated. If you’re looking to learn more about some of the suggestions and technologies discussed in the above article, feel free to get in touch for more information.